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Bridging the last mile with Kolibri

A young boy is looking up at his school desk. In front of him is a tablet with a blue case


The idea for Kolibri has been part of Learning Equality’s vision from the very beginning. Their co-founders had a strong desire to provide a solution for learners around the world in low-resource contexts to access a comprehensive digital curriculum and have built-in tools that support effective blended learning. Their first platform, KA Lite, was launched in 2012, and is now providing local, offline access to Khan Academy content to millions of learners in over 175 countries and territories. This success helped to open the door for the development of Kolibri

Kolibri has a unique model of distribution

  1. “Seeding" a Device: Kolibri installers, updates, and content can be downloaded once to a device in an area that has an Internet connection
  2. Peer-to-Peer Distribution That "seeded" device can then share new content and updates with other devices over an offline local network.
  3. Last Mile via "Sneakernet" To reach the most remote communities, a device can be carried by foot to share installers, updates, and content with other devices over local networks.

Enablers / Barriers:

Learning Equality (LE) face a major challenge early on in finding people who understand their mission on both the funding side and in the online EdTech space. Many believed that eventually everyone will have the internet, and that it was too difficult deliver content with offline syncing and copying, so they don’t address the problem. So for LE a big part of their advocacy was around reaching those with the least access to infrastructure, larger class sizes, and all of the other educational barriers that are being faced by the offline half of the world. Whilst understanding that the technology isn’t everything. It’s critical that it is brought in thoughtfully, involving extensive training and support for teachers and students.

One of the leaps in achieving true scale is pushing past the early adopters and bridging the gap with teachers who are more set in their ways and reluctant to use technology. Reaching areas with poor connectivity and resources is based upon working with the organization, often an NGO, government, or volunteer group who has local access to the internet. In many cases, it’s an issue of bandwidth or cost, so organizations can download the content once and put it on a device, and from there copy it to many different devices.

From that one download, the information can be passed on, and then many students can have perpetual access to the material. Several companies also create devices which are pre-loaded with a bunch of software and material including Kolibri and KA Lite. They then ship it out, so people who are unable to download the material can still have access to our resources. LE established a roadmap for future development aiming to be a core piece of the infrastructure that can support global education. At the time, they lacked content bases that were integrated, and now have content from all over the web integrated into a central system with a whole pipeline and team which supports that process.

They recognised the need to think holistically about the training materials and guidance needed to support effective grassroots adoption and have made progress in building out those materials. In terms of regions, they have a significant presence in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America with one area of growth in the Middle East, with a focus on refugees. An important aspect of that is building content in Arabic because most of the available content on the web is in Western languages. This need support to an ecosystem of producing open content in local languages and cultures combined with translating and adapting content from elsewhere.

At the heart of the LE model is to remain partnership focused, providing a catalyst that offers the right tools to allow for full access to education and learning.


Implementing organizations:



Kenya + sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America with one area of growth in the Middle East, with a focus on refugees






Website, App, Digital Books, ePub, Video


LMIC, low resource, apps, digital

Source: Qatar foundation International